The Sims 4 For Rent Expansion Pack review: Lord of the Rentals

The Sims 4 For Rent Expansion Pack review: Lord of the Rentals
Images via EA | Maxis

Written by 

Ava Thompson-Powell

Published 

11th Dec 2023 17:00

The third Expansion Pack to arrive this year in The Sims 4, For Rent, adds more playability and in-depth features to apartment living, providing Simmers with more opportunities for Sims to come together and either clash (or reside in harmony) with the new Residential Rental lot type.

It seems like content for the game has been coming in by the droves in 2023, and that’s never a bad thing. This year alone, we’ve had the return of Stuff Packs in Home Chef Hustle, Kit after Kit after Kit, and the Horse Ranch and Growing Together Expansion Packs.

But with so much content being served up on a platter to Simmers, how does For Rent live up to the ‘Expansion Pack’ title, or does it go the way of feeling more like a Game Pack, as we felt was the case in Horse Ranch in our prior review?

GGRecon Verdict

The Sims 4 For Rent is a brilliant addition to the other DLC available in the game, with Residential Rentals and gameplay concerning them being something that I'd never want to go back and play without.

As per usual, there's plenty of humour and potential for drama, and despite a slightly hollow, but beautiful world with Tomarang, I'd highly recommend adding this Expansion Pack to your collection.

Note: Some images used in this review are taken from a build that was not final.

A beautiful world

Morensong in the The Sims 4 For Rent in the Tomarang world
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Let’s kick it off with one of the things I most look forward to in an Expansion Pack: the new world. As is par for the course, Tomarang is incredibly beautiful, and its Southeast Asian influence makes for a stark - and very welcome - change from many of the worlds that have clearly been plucked right from specific states of the USA.

While it has a disappointingly small number of lots - nine, in fact - including only two pre-built community lots on offer, let’s not forget that the Residential Rental lot type is the crowning glory in For Rent, which can effectively bump that number up higher (but more on that later.)

Across its two neighbourhoods, Koh Sahpa and Morensong, the latter feels quite expansive due to its small streets branching off from the larger, more central area, and you’re able to wander around without much of a loading screen at all - unless you’re lot or apartment-hopping, of course. If you own Growing Together, its setup feels very similar to that of San Sequoia, in that it’s quite expansive, but with little on offer to do.

Koh Sapa in The Sims 4 For Rent
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In what has started to feel like déjà vu for me in every review of The Sims 4 content that I write, the spirit of set dressing rears its ugly head again here, as while the world is densely packed with buildings and greenery, it’s all mostly there purely for decoration purposes.

One of the things that makes Morensong the place to reside in, though, is its gorgeously designed Night Market, which has different stalls that offer all manner of food, drink, and clothes, from Halo-halo to a layered halter top.

While this area is also densely packed, I counted only four stalls that actually had Sims behind them, making the others there purely for, you guessed it, decoration. Additionally, there’s also a Fish Market here that can be stopped by on the waterfront between 4PM and 12AM if you’re looking to wander home and cook up some seafood.

Night Market in The Sims 4 For Rent
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Tomarang has two rabbit holes, Tinsu Temple, which provided my Sim with a moodlet following her visit, and a ‘choose your own adventure’ style one over in Koh Sapa - the Tiger Sanctuary.

In it, you’ll get popups on screen that direct you through your Sim’s journey. I opted to have my Sim sneak in after hours - which felt fitting with the new Nosy and Cringe traits I gave her - and she was swiftly spotted despite trying to hide, before being kicked out and stuck with a temporary ban from visiting.

Tiger Sanctuary in The Sims 4 For Rent
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At this stage of The Sims 4’s lifecycle, rabbit holes are a given - and while they aren’t something I tend to gravitate towards, their presence here serves a purpose due to the different moodlets you can receive from them, and makes for a pleasant change from the many shells dotted around the world that are a clear façade.

Cramped Together

For Rent’s pièce de résistance is of course the Residential Rentals, which I can’t imagine going back and playing The Sims 4 without. Additional content of the Expansion Pack aside, the Sim Guru dev team has done a brilliant job of creating an intuitive addition to the UI, as it’s incredibly easy to use and understand.

While the initial appeal of being able to pop upstairs or next door to visit another unit on the same lot quickly loses its lustre once you realise that it’s just the same as visiting any other lot in the game (with a loading screen popping up as you move from unit to unit), creating a unit couldn’t have been done any better, truly.

When in Build/Buy in a Residential Rental, zoning rooms as one unit or another (or adding a new one into the lot) is as simple as pressing a button.

Residential Rental Units in For Rent
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What’s more, units can be tiny, and there are no requirements as to what can be one either - I made a 3x1 room into one when testing the feature, for example.

Each one is nicely highlighted with a different colour to help them stand out, and I have no qualms with how this feature has been executed. Sure, having no loading screen between each unit within a lot would have been great, but being able to now create fully functional townhomes and other multi-living lots with different households is a brilliant addition to The Sims 4, and one I’d never be without.

A new social event, the Neighborhood Potluck (along with the addition of the Pool Party), makes for the perfect opportunity to get to know your fellow residents - though you can invite anyone to these that you know. The happenings here are pretty standard event fare, as you cook meals, thank Sims for coming, and get tasked with cleaning up within a time limit in order to earn a medal.

Storyteller Simmers will likely find plenty of opportunity to cause drama with these, and as someone who has been rewatching plenty of Desperate Housewives episodes lately, the close-knit format of unit living, coupled with this event type and some of the new traits very much felt like I could live out my own form of Wisteria Lane drama in-game - and isn’t that what The Sims is all about?

Having your Sims crank up their music extra loud when knowing there are neighbours next door - even though I’ve experienced no repercussions of doing so just yet - feels delightfully evil,
further enhancing all of that juicy storytelling potential.

Adding to that drama are the new ‘eavesdrop’ and ‘break in’ interactions, which will allow you to get close up someone’s front door and listen for secrets, which can then be used to hold over other Sims in the form of blackmail, where you’ll receive some Simoleons in exchange for your silence. If you’re a nicer person than I have been with this feature, though, you can also choose to keep the secret if you so choose.

When breaking in, you’re able to do a new ‘snoop’ interaction on objects like beds and wardrobes, which will also see you gaining these secrets, which in typical Sims fashion are absolutely hilarious. One I discovered was ‘My Funds Magically Rose, Bud!’, which, while I won’t spoil the description for you, if you’re a fan of cheating, you’ll likely know what it’s referring to.

While I love these two features, I do think that there was a missed opportunity here with break-ins to do something with police NPCs, as it otherwise functions much like any typical event in The Sims 4, with a little timer ticking down in the corner of your screen as you meander around.

A Sim breaking in in The Sims 4 For Rent
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And, of course, what would The Sims 4 be without its array of wild and wacky deaths for Sims? Adding one new death to the frey that feels as if it was plucked right out of The Last of Us, Sims can get sick from a new Lot Challenge: Mold.

When appliances are dirty, toxic and allergenic mold can start to grow and spread throughout a home - and it accelerates fast. While Sims can clean it - in which they’ll don a lab coat and goggles to protect themselves - or attempt to burn it with fire, because of course, if left, your Sims will likely catch… Moldinitis.

As with most illnesses, this causes specific moodlets, but if you let it wreak its grimy, green, glowy havoc, your Sims will develop a severe, and then deadly variant that affects their movement before it ultimately kills them. While in the latter stage of the sickness, their skin will turn an unsightly shade of dark green in spots, and upon dying… well, let me just show you what happens:

Mold death in The Sims 4 For Rent
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If that isn’t peak Sims, I don’t know what is.

The Lord of the Rentals

In a similar vein to how Retail lots work in Get To Work, Sims can become a Property Owner to live out their dreams of being a landlord in For Rent. As such, you can either rent out additional units on the lot you’re residing on, or become a bit of a land baron and purchase other lots throughout the world to bring in additional Simoleons.

As a Property Owner, you can adjust the pricing and lease length of a unit, adjust the rules that residents will need to adhere to (no social events, loud noises, ghosts, trash overload, and maximum occupancy) and fill vacancies in units you own that are empty. All of this process runs incredibly smoothly, and depending on the unit itself, it’ll receive different ratings based on the size, maintenance, and amenities on offer.

You can also evict a tenant, too, both justly and unjustly (the latter of which will lower a unit’s ratings and other consequences for your Sims like an eviction settlement) if you so choose - further adding to the sheer potential for chaos.

As a Property Owner, you can travel to and visit your units whenever you’d like, and when there, can perform inspections and maintenance on things like showers and appliances. This goes for when you’re a tenant too, as the Property Owner will routinely pop by, where you can ask them to check a certain item for maintenance, compliment or complain about the unit, or even hand in your notice (for a fee.)

A Property Owner performing an inspection in The Sims 4 For Rent
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Tying into the whole property management side on offer in For Rent, if you’re vying for a new career for your Sim, you’re in luck too, with the new Handyperson career adding to the growing roster of different options available.

Stellar CAS & Build/Buy options

In the past, I’ve found myself criticising how there always seems to be a lean towards feminine fashion in DLCs for The Sims 4, but in For Rent, I was pleasantly surprised by how fair it felt. For example, adult masculine and feminine clothing styles have 11 choices for a Sim’s bottoms, 15 tops for feminine fashion, and 18 for masculine fashion.

Masculine CAS in The Sims 4 For Rent
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The options on offer here are brilliant, ranging from more casual wear to some beautifully designed dresses. The image below shows one of my favourite full-body outfits in the whole expansion - I think I audibly gasped when I saw it for the first time (no joke, it's the one in the centre.)

Feminine CAS in The Sims 4 For Rent
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On top of that, you’ve got four new traits: Child of the Village, Cringe, Generous, Nosy, and Wise, the latter of which is Elder only, and five new Aspirations. I ran with the Cringe, Generous, and Nosy traits on one of my Sims, and also gave them the ‘Seeker of Secrets’ Aspiration - as it felt very fitting for residing in a unit building when it tasks you with snooping, eavesdropping, and breaking into residences.

The Cringe trait is absolutely hilarious, giving you two new interactions that can be done whenever you like: Embrace the Cringe and the BlicBlock Dance. They can also share memes with others, in which memeable icons will show up above their head as they’re discussing them.

All of the traits here are fantastic additions to those already on offer, and work perfectly with the new close-knit feel of the pack.

As for Build/Buy - it’s great. While I did find myself wishing there were a few more decorations and clutter options on the whole, there’s a whole array of furniture here, from spirit houses to squat toilets to functional radiators; decorative or non-decorative versions of water heaters, traditional-styled furniture; functional hopscotch and marble games, and kettles and pressure cookers.

For Rent Build Buy items
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While I’m not much of a builder, many of the new windows, particularly an open-concept balcony one, had me going ‘ooh, ahh’, and I can’t wait to see what The Sims community cooks up and shares on The Gallery.

Build Mode items shown on a house
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If you’re really looking to grime the place up, there are even some wall decals to make a room look a little bit worse for wear.

The usual humour of descriptions for items carries through in For Rent too. One that particularly stuck out to me was ‘The For Rent Sign’, with its description poking fun at the naming conventions of DLC for The Sims 4, mentioning that the sign is also known as ‘Get Rent Sign’ and ‘Rental Living Sign’ to name a couple.

The Verdict

All in all, The Sims 4 For Rent Expansion Pack is fantastic, and one of the more necessary content offerings I’d suggest picking up if you don’t own all of the DLC and are unsure of just how it’ll fit into your game.

Being able to have more families within a world is never a bad thing, and while a loading screen separates each unit, which can feel a little limiting when bouncing between them for visits, it creates some wonderful opportunities for builders and storytellers alike.

I can’t imagine not playing without this feature now that I have, and while a beautiful world full of set-dressing and few lots does hold the pack back somewhat, the new traits, CAS, Build/Buy items, and Southeast Asian inspirations found within it are fantastically done.

I do think that we’re still toeing the line of what can be considered a Game Pack or an Expansion Pack nowadays in The Sims 4, but For Rent is close enough to that line that I think there’s a lot on offer here to uncover and unpack, regardless of your particular playstyle.

4/5

Reviewed on PC. Access provided by the publisher.

Ava is GGRecon's Evergreen Editor. With a BA (Hons) in Media & Communications, she was previously the Evergreen Editor for Dexerto. When not in the land of evergreens, she's playing her favourite games, including Dead by Daylight, The Sims, Second Life, and Red Dead Online. Oh yeah, and she's a huge Taylor Swift fan.